Skip to main content

About this Show

Book TV

Neil Gaiman Education. (2012) Fall for the Book Mason Award presentation and lecture. New.




San Francisco, CA, USA

Comcast Cable

Channel 91 (627 MHz)






Us 11, Hempstock 4, U.s. 4, Clack 3, Brown 3, Fairfax 3, George Mason 2, Gary Hart 2, Exaggerator 2, Neil Gaiman 2, Elizabeth Dole 2, Brian Lamb 2, Bosnia 2, George W. Bush 1, Steven King 1, Mwaa 1, Mason 1, Mr. Gaiman 1, Don Anders 1, Subtony 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Book TV    Neil Gaiman  Education.  (2012) Fall for the  
   Book Mason Award presentation and lecture. New.  

    October 27, 2012
    7:00 - 8:30pm EDT  

>> the next program is an hour and 15 minutes. [applause] >> i know you are plotting the guy who brought the crowd signout, right? [applause] >> thank you very much. welcome. what a lively audience. i wish that i could stay longer, but i am bill miller, and i direct the "fall for the book festival" program. also the graduate writing program here at george mason. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> i was going to say that you have arrived at "fall for the book festival" whether you intended to or not. we started the festival on
wednesday. we are having a great time. we do not end until sunday. there are programs in the lobby and we would love it if you would pick one up if you are interested. in this room, we have authors on the floor. following me to the bone will be the mayor of fairfax city. mayor silverthorne, who introduced tonight's guests. we will keep everything to a minimum and shift to the formality. he is going to be, key questions from the cards that some of you fill out, and answer those. then we will do the presentation, and then we will be done. with the bookstore will be open in the lobby if you don't have a chance to buy one of the pre-signed books. so here is the mayor. [applause]
>> good evening, ladies and gentlemen undistinguished guests. it has been 15 years since the possibilities of a book cesspool at george mason university was first discussed. the city was one of the initial founders of the festival and is proud to have been a supporter of the vessel ever since. events have been staged in and around the city of fairfax. the local town hall and our historic stage, and the city of fairfax regional library. for the past two years, our brand-new sure what community center. we are proud. we are proud of the "fall for the book festival." it is now my honor to introduce to you our special guest for you. neil gaiman was born in the united kingdom and now lives near minneapolis. he was born and raised in public
libraries. he credits laggards of fostering his love of reading. he began his writing career in england as a journalist. his first book was a durand durand biography that took him three months to write. the second was a biography of douglas adams don't panic. the official hitchhikers guide to the galaxy companion. excuse me. this groundbreaking series sandman-- [applause] >> selected a large number of u.s. awards and 75 issue run. >> is at city hall today and one woman said that i have every single one of those. including three harvey awards. in 1991, sandman became the first comic ever to receive a literary award.
it won an award for the best short story. mr. neil gaiman is credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, as well as an author that has reached across genres to reach audiences of all ages. he is listed in the dictionary of literary biography is one of the top 10 postmodern writers in the prolific creator poetry and prose, film, journalism, comics and drama. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in giving a fairfax welcome to neil gaiman. [applause] [cheers] [applause] [cheers]
[cheers] [applause] >> hello. okay, so the plan. the plan for this evening. there is one. although i only decided what was about four minutes ago. so there is a plan. the plan is as follows. i could not decide whether to read you something from my new novel, which is called "the ocean at the end of the lane." it is no longer my book. at about 330 this morning.
she. [applause] >> it is is about as fresh as anything can be. it is a novel that keeps going. [laughter] people will say, what happened next? they will say that that is not fair. even if every one of them buys the book, it's still not out sometime next year. [laughter] it is still not really fair. i thought that maybe i could do a short story as well. and then i thought that i also have these questions because i have given -- excuse me, was given questions on cards. and i have carefully separated the questions into one that will probably answer, once i probably won't answer because they are
silly and also doctor who. [cheers] [applause] so my plan. is it basically -- i'm going to answer a bunch of questions, i'm going to read you a little bit of a short story. they are all new things. so you shouldn't have any point wind up sitting there going, i know how this goes. [laughter] >> that is the plan. [cheers] [applause] the only thing to alter the plan is reading from an ipod.
the occasion is really exciting. you suddenly realize, how did i get here? so the book is called "the ocean at the end of the lane." he begins with a quote in conversation in the new yorker on september 27, 1993. she says her room for my own childhood vividly. and i knew terrible things. i knew i must not let adults now that i knew it would scare them. it was only a duck pond in the back of the farm. it wasn't very big. lobby himself said it was the ocean, but i knew that was
early. she said that they had come here across the ocean from the old country. she said that lawtey didn't remember properly and it was a long time ago. and anyway, the old country had sunk. the grandmother said that they were both wrong and the place that had sunk was not the really old country. she said she could remember the really old country. she said really own old country have one. i will skip the prologue. we will dive straight into the story. the hero is about seven years old. he is slightly grumpy because he has just had to give up his bedroom and the family is running short of money.
different people are staying in his bedroom. my former bedroom at the top of the stairs was let out and the variety of people passed through it. and i view them all with suspicion. they were sleeping in my bedroom, using my little yellow basin that was just the right size for me. there had been a fat austrian later told us to walk around the ceiling. an american couple that my mother scandalized when she discovered they were not actually married. now, there was a south african miner. although he had he gave us an opal. my sister like this and treasured her opal stone. i cannot forgive him for the death of my kitten.
it was the first day of the spring holiday. three weeks of no school. i woke early thrilled by the prospect of endless days to feel however i wish. i would read and i would explore. i pulled on my shorts, my t-shirt, my sandals. i went downstairs to the kitchen. my father was cooking while my mother slept in. he was wearing his dressing gown over his pajamas. he always cooked breakfast on saturday. i said dad, where's my comic? you always brought me a copy of smash before he drove home from work on saturdays and i would read it in the morning. in the back of the car. he said do you want toast? and i said not burnt. my father did not like toaster. he toasted bread under the grill
usually he burnt it. i pushed the kitchen door and went in. i liked the kitchen door. it's one both ways in and out. serving six years ago would be able to walk in and out with their arms laden with dishes. death, where is the car? >> in the drive. >> no, it isn't. >> what? the telephone rang and my father went out into the hall where the phone was once. i heard him talking to someone. the toes begin to smoke under the grill. i got off and turned the grill off. that was the least, my father said, someone has reported seeing our car at the bottom of the lake. i said, i have not even reported it stolen yet. >> he pulled the pin out from beneath the grill. the toast was smoking and black on one side.
is my comic bare? or did they steal it? [laughter] >> i don't know, the police did not mention your comment. my father put butter on the first sight of the coast. put on a pair of shoes and we walked down the lane together. we had walked for perhaps five minutes down the narrow way, which ran through fields on each side when a police car came up behind us. slowly, the driver greeted my father by name. i had my piece of burnt toast behind my back. my father talked to the policeman. i wish my family would buy normal sliced white bread come the kind of went into miniature toasters, like every other family that i knew. my father had found a local baker's shop where they made baked loaves of heavy brown
bread. he insisted on buying them. he said it tasted better, but in my mind it was nonsense. it tasted like almost nothing. that was the point. the driver of the police car got out, opened the passenger door, told me to get in. my father rode up front. but beside the driver. the police car went slowly down the lane. the whole lane was unpaved back there. just wide enough for one car at a time, a precipitous bumpy way with sticking up from it. the whole thing ratcheted by farm equipment and time. these kids, they think it's funny to steal a car. they will be locals. i'm just glad it was found so fast. that's what my father said. there was a faraway girl with hair so blonde and her cheeks
very red when we get past. i held my peace of burnt toast on my lap. >> leeson said it's a long while back anywhere from here. we passed a band in the lane and over on the side we saw a gate leading into a field in the brown mud. we drove past it. parked on the grass edge. the policeman let me out, and the three of us walked over. while the policeman told my dad about crime in this area and why it was obviously the local kids who had done it, my dad was opening the passenger side door with a spare key. he said someone like something on the back backseat. my father reached back and pulled the blue blanket away to cover that thing in the backseat. even if the policeman said he shouldn't do that. i was staring at the backseat, because that was where my comic
was. so i sell it. it was not the thing i was looking at. although i was an imaginative child, i had persuaded my parents to take me to madams to sobs waxworks for my research are sold because i wanted to visit the chamber of horrors. i wanted to see the wolfman and printer giant monster. instead i was walked through glum looking men and women who have murdered people. those who had been have been murdered in the electric chair
or gas chambers. most of them were depicted with their victims in awkward social situations. seated at dinners. the plaques that explain who they were told me that the majority of them had murdered their families and sold the bodies to anatomy. it was then that the word anatomy garnered its own edge of horror for me. i did not know what anatomy wise. i only knew that anatomy may people kill their children. [laughter] >> the only thing that had kept me running and screaming from the chamber of horrors as i was led around it, was that none of the waxworks have looked fully convincing. they could not look truly dead. yet they did did not ever look-alike. the thing in the backseat that had been covered by the blue
blanket, under that blanket, it had been in my bedroom on the shelf for one i got cold. it looked a little like the opel, but was dressed in a black suit with a white ruffled shirt and a black bow tie. hair was slicked back, the skin was bluish but the skin was also very red. it looked like a purity of hell. there was no gold chain around his neck. i can see underneath it, crumpled and bend, my copy of smash. with batman looking at seated on the television. i don't remember who said what. just that they may be sent away huisman talked my talk to my father and wrote things down in a notebook. i ran from the exhaust pipe of
the drivers window. there was brown mud all over. nobody was watching me. i took a bite of my toast. it was burnt. was burnt and cold. at home my father ate almost all the burnt pieces of toast. burnt toast, my favorite. when i was much older and he confessed to me that he had not ever like burnt toast. and for a fraction of the moment, my entire childhood felt like a lie. [laughter] it was as if one of the pillows of my world had been built upon and crumbled into dry sand. huisman spoke in front of his car. he crossed the road and came over to me. he said there will be a few more
cars coming over. would you like to sit in the back of my card and? i shook my head. i did not want us there again. somebody, a girl, said you can come back with me to the farmhouse. she was much older than me. at least 11 years old. her hair was worn relatively short for a girl. and her nose was snubbed. she was speckled. she wore a red skirt. girls do not wear jeans much back then. she had in accent and soft, gray blue eyes. she got permission to take me away, and i was walking down the lane with the girl. i said there is a dead man in our car. that is why he came down here, she told me.
do you think he killed himself? yes,. do you like milk? we are milking the cows now. i said, real milk from a cow? and then felt foolish, but she nodded reassuringly. i thought about this. i think i would like that. we stopped where an old woman, much older than my parents with long gray hair like cobwebs in the thin face was standing outside a cow. long black tubes were attached to the cows teats. we used to melt them by hand, she told me, but this is easier. she showed me how to milk. going kalikow to the cooler and
a huge metal turn. they were collected each day. the old lady gave me a cup of creamy milk or the fresh milk before it had gone through the cooler. nothing i drink ever tasted like that before. rich and warm and perfectly happy in my mouth. i remembered that milk after had forgotten everything else. there is more than coupling. we should get the boy into the kitchen. a cup of milk will do a growing boy enough good. she said, have you eaten? just a piece of toast. it was burned. >> she said my name is lexi. this is our farm. come on. she took me in to the front
door. it looked as it faces were staring up at me read we have breakfast here early, she said. there is porridge and she gave me a china bowl filled with warm porridge from the stove with a jar of home very black or a jam. i swirled into a purple mass trade i was as happy as i have ever been. it tasted perfect. a stocky woman came in. she said this must be the boy. there will be five of them
needing tea soon. she filled a huge copper kettle. she put the kettle into the flames. and she took down 5 miles from the cupboard and hesitated, looking at the woman. the woman said, you are right. the doctor will be here soon. then the woman pursed her lips and made a noise. she said he put it in his breast pocket. having a look there yet? what does it say? i thought the woman seemed like she was somebody's mother. she said took all the money that his friends had given him to south africa, with all the money he made over the years and he went to the casino in brighton to gamble. he only meant to gamble with his
own money, then he meant to make back the money he had lost. and then he didn't have anything. that is what the woman said. it was dark. but it's not what he wrote, though, so the little girl squinting her eyes. what he wrote was to all my friends, i am so sorry it was not like i meant to, and i hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, for i cannot forgive myself. the old woman turned to me. you would have met my mother already in the milking shed. she is older systems stock. this is hemp stock farm. i wonder why they were all called hempstock. they were perfectly
matter-of-fact about it. lexi said, i nudged him to look in the breast pocket. he will think he looked for himself. they said why don't you take the boy down to the pond. it is not upon, so the little girl. it is my ocean. she turned to me and said come on. the day was still young. we walked around the house. is a real ocean? i asked. oh, yes. she said. we came over to a wooden shed. between them, a duck pond. spotted with duck wings and lily ponds.
that felt good, said leddy. i thought you said it wasn't ocean, it's just a calm, really it's just an ocean. we came across it when i was a baby from the old country. she went into the shed and came out with a long bamboo pole with what looked like a shrimping net on the end. she leaned over. carefully pushing the net and she pulled it out. but hempstock farm is in the doomsday book. your mother said so. that was william the co but hempstock farm is in the doomsday book. your mother said so. that was william the conqueror. yes, she said. she took the dead fish and examined it. it was still soft. it flopped in her hand. i had never seen so many colors. beneath the silver was blue and green and purple. what kind of fish is that? i asked her.
this is very odd, she said. i mean, mostly fiction is ocean don't die anyway. she produced a pocket knife. i could not have told you from her. she pushed it into the stomach of the fish and sliced that long. towards the tail. this is what killed her, she said. she took something from inside the fish. then she put it, still greasy from the fish guts and my hand. i bent down, dipping into dipped into the water, rub my fingers across it and i stared at it. queen victoria stared back at me. the fish a sixpence. it's not that common is that? there was a little sunshine and it showed the freckles across her cheeks and nose.
were some light touch your head, it was red. and then she said your father is wondering where you are, we should be getting back. i tried to give her a little silver sixpence, but she said you keep it, you can buy chocolates for sherbet lemons. i don't think i can, i said. it's too small. i don't know shots it takes six times like these nowadays. she said put it in your piggy bank, it might bring you luck. the policeman and my father and others were standing in the kitchen. one of the men told me he was a policeman, but he wasn't wearing a uniform, which i thought was disappointing. if i were a policeman, i would wear my uniform whenever i could. the other man with a suit and tie, i recognized him as our family doctor. they were finishing their tea.
i think hempstock for taking care of me. they said i was no trouble at all and i could come again. the policeman had driven us down and back to our house. he dropped us off at the end of the driveway. probably best if you don't talk about this to your sister said my father. i didn't want to talk about it to anybody. i found a special place and made a new friend and i was holding an old-fashioned sixpence in my hand. i said, what makes the ocean different from the sea? and ocean is much bigger than the sea. why is that? i was just thinking, i said. could you have an ocean that is as small as upon? no. so my father. ponds upon pond size.
lakes are lake sized. oceans are ocean sized. i father went to talk to my mother. i dropped the silver sixpence into my piggy bank. it was a kind of piggy bank from which nothing could be removed. one day, when it can hold no more, i would be allowed to break it. [applause] [applause] after that, things get weird.
[laughter] >> it does actually get kind of weird. it was a very strange book to write. because it really wasn't until i got to the end that i decided it definitely was not a children's book. on the one hand it does have a 7-year-old protagonist. and three wonderfully strange magical witches living at the garden. on the other hand, has the scariest stuff i've ever written. [laughter] i have written some very scary stuff in my life. i had to decide. core line, i'm okay with it being a kids book. core -- it is true.
she would've been about six years old. she was married to a nice man. when i sent the manuscript, i said here you go. and she called me up and said it is great, but obviously not a children's book. i said, i think it is. she said no, it's much too scary. and i said, okay. read it to your children. [laughter] if your kids are fine with that, we will send it to the children's book editor. if your kids have a problem with it, then we will wind up paying for years of therapy. but we will send it to an adult. so she set all right.
she phoned me up a week later and said my kids love it. i'm sending it to lisa howard and that was where she sent it, and they loved it. about three years ago there was a coraline is off-broadway with music by the magnetic fields. and it was very wonderful. the first night, i wound up sitting next to morgan. she was a beautiful young lady. my wife, amanda, was with me. and i said please meet morgan. because this is the children's book. morgan wasn't scared. and morgan said, i was terrified. [laughter] she said, but i knew that if i
let on, i wouldn't find out what happened next. so that is why coraline became a children's book. this, on the other hand, i would not really feel comfortable. there is stuff in it that is very adult. okay, so questions? we may ask some questions randomly. actually, it's looked into the other ones. [laughter] have you ever been a villain in someone else's story, and if not, how would you like to be? then says at the bottom, ominously, i am writing the story.
[laughter] i don't know if the spoils it, but if any of you saw my appearance on the simpsons, have any of you seen the simpsons? [applause] any of you who did not see the simpsons episode, the book job, put your fingers in your ears. i will warn you when it's time to take them out. i will wait. are they in your ears? so in the book job, it was brilliant. when they sent me the script, they told me that i was going to be in the simpsons and asked if i would play myself. and i said sure. i figured the script was going to be -- [inaudible] and then i said, you're right, i
couldn't. and then they said, i'm doing stuff. and i haven't done anything in a few pages. and it was brilliant. at the end, one of favorite mf my favorite moments. in all television. when you write, you are like a 9-year-old putting together a motorbike in his bedroom. [laughter] yes? remark mostly, that is what it feels like.
it seems so simple when i took it apart. everything i took apart as a 9-year-old. you have something, like an old television, and you take apart and put back together again. and it seems like a thousand interesting things a boy should know. and if ever i am trapped on a desert island, with television components, i will be able to watch my favorite television program. it never worked. here is a heartfelt thought. the answer to that is a painful one. it is look around you. do a hasty headcount.
i have been told that we have 1800 people in this room. figure out how long it actually takes, allowing 30 seconds per person. the last time i did this at 3:00 o'clock in the morning, and i didn't feel like doing one of those tonight. [laughter] i'm sorry, i'll come back. [cheers] [applause] the best place to catch me for the national book fair on the mall. where i start as early as possible, and then last time i actually disassembled to stand around me. there were still people -- there were 4000 people that day, and
it just kept going. the next question, this one is about as its existential as it gets. [laughter] why not? [laughter] [applause] what book did you enjoy writing most? i don't know. [laughter] i enjoyed the ones that hate writing most. the ones they're really fun are the ones that have the huge highs and the terrible lows in the ones where i get to stomp around and pull my agent and say why you let me do this. i could've been a gardener. [laughter] and she says, no, you couldn't. and i said well, no, i couldn't. but why?
so i really enjoyed writing this new one. "the ocean at the end of the lane." mostly, i enjoyed it because i was doing stuff i had not done before. i love doing stuff i have never done before in a book. i like writing the american guards, which had that huge -- that was another one. it was fun and horrible. the lows were amazingly low. could you tell us about your writing gazebo with the gazebo already there. did you redesign and rebuild it from scratch? well, i did not build it because i'm a writer. [laughter] honestly, with very few exceptions, you should not trust me here screwdrivers. [laughter] crowbars and wrenches, i don't know what they do.
no, i got some very nice people who were friends of my system, lorraine. those who normally built things are affairs. that is what they did. they were very good at building and i said to them, could you build a gazebo, and they said, how hard could it be? [laughter] so they built me my writing gazebo, which apparently breaks all the rules. but none of us knew. it is a wonderful place to write. except for the problem which was very recent. this may be my cue to pull out some "doctor who" in a moment.
but i put together the house of nothing in coraline, then it became two years. then it was called the doctor's wife. one day i opened the door and five mice came out. one at a time. i thought, you know, i meant to give these to the library of congress or somebody. and now they all mock me. [laughter] what is your best advice for getting started writing? well, you sit down. [laughter] [applause]
you plan to write with a pencil, make sure that your pencil is sharp end. you plan to write with a pen to make sure you have paper. if you're writing on a computer, turn the computer on. activate the wordprocessing program. has some kind of automatic savings system in place so that you will not accidentally type an entire novel and press the wrong button and send it off into cyberspace. you type the first word. maybe you are writing an outline for yourself or so before you begin. that's how you do it. you sit down. people always want more like tommy. [laughter] i tell them that, and it's like i'm trying to keep a secret from them. they look at me going, but what
is the real thing? they want me to tell them about the postcard that you get if you are a real writer. or if you want to be a writer, at midnight you burn the postcard. [laughter] and as it burns, you will hear this knock. on the door, and you go and open it. there is john latham, stephen king, and me, and we are wearing robes. [laughter] [applause] [cheers] and we say now, you will learn. [laughter]
honestly, it is easier than not. you just write. and you know what? stuff that you right at the beginning doesn't have to be very good. you just keep writing. that is the trick. four years ago i taught a science fiction five-week long, six-week long science-fiction boot camp. and i did week four, which is when everyone cries and has a nervous breakdown spirit and they did indeed do that. which was great. [laughter] at one point, one of my guys said how can you tell? can you tell which of us is going to make it. and i said no.
he said, but some of us are brilliant, and can you tell? and i said no. the ones that are going to make it would be the ones that write and write and write. some of the ones who are brilliant have written brilliant stories and never write again, they are the ones who get in there and write everyday and finish their stories. then they write the next ones. and they will make it. i saw him about four months ago in arlington. he was nominated for a nebula award and he said, you know, it works. he didn't get the award, but still very proud of him. [laughter] my wife and i love this very much. thank you very much. i also like to cheat on the
voices because of the ones i like are in the tv series. the ones i didn't like, i substituted the ones that were in my head. what was your favorite book as a child? well, it depends when. my tastes changed. you know, when i was five years old, it was a book about fairies. it was rapidly supplanted by the time i was seven years old. [laughter] [applause] by the time i was about eight years old, it was the hobbit. [cheers] [applause] when i was nine years old, but rather peculiarly became another book [inaudible] it wasn't a children's book.
and it beers was the first two books of lord of the rings. because that is all they have in the school library. [laughter] they had them as individual books in the early 50s. they have the fellowship of the rings and the two tails. when i get to the end of that, i would go back and read the fellowship of the ring. when i won the school english play, they said you get a book. and i said, i would like to return this to the king. [laughter] i wanted to find out how it ended. what is your advice for someone that wants to write and be published? right. write your thoughts down, make them publishable, send them to people who might publish them. when they come back from this people saying that they can't publish them, send them to someone else.
someone out there is drunk enough or desperate enough to publish your story. [laughter] and then keep writing. don't actually say oh, i have finished my story. i have sold a story. just keep writing. i noticed a lot of your stories teacher very assertive, strong-willed women,/girls. thoughts? [laughter] i think you are observing. weird thing about "doctor who",
it is an english tv show in which the hero, the doctor, after 50 years, it's hard to keep the mystery. the doctor, when he dies or gets too exhausted. doctor regenerates. he is still very much the doctor. it is weird consternation.
he says no, they just took my doctor away. i liked him. what am i going to do with this new guy? and then slowly, coming here like no, it's your future. [laughter] is a good thing. sooner or later, you will find your doctor. and patrick was my doctor. you ever feel like the basic elements of your books become too formulaic? any doubts about that? >> no, i really don't. [laughter] [applause] i think it is a point where you want to reduce anything to a one line description.
they get it down to about 10 words. i'm sure that in some ways, "the ocean at the end of the lane" could be, the plot could be normal people finding something weird and bid on the outside. and i would probably fit most of my books. but that is always what happens when i look back at what i've written a number what i said right going in. and the devil is always in the details. time for a few more questions. of all the picturesque trees in the u.s., what made the tree of life special? because my friend, tori amos, has a family, a decaying crumbling family farm
potentially, i'm about told anyone this, but it pretty much was the farm that i stole to put the tree of life and end the farm and. and i encountered it about 1996 or 1997 riding the tour bus with her for a few days. she went off to see strange crumbling old farm. when the new book arrives, you'll grab it and you will randomly turn to any page. or i will go down and you will
see a typo. [laughter] and it has now gotten to the point where i expect it and almost am disappointed if it doesn't. did you know the word hello is in their? no, i can. didn't. i just thought it was a really good joke. the last thing she had to say was i just thought it was so clever. i was really proud of myself. i did not actually realize that i would break hearts. [laughter] i'm just not.type, i guess i really clever. [applause] no, absolutely not. not only that, but you can put
one line into the doctor's like to make sure that it didn't happen again. and she said this is where we talk. she might be right. how did i know that that was where she talked? will i be writing another episode of "doctor who"? yes. [cheers] [applause] the e-mail that i read before coming down here was frontier airlines dinner. carolyn is the executive producer of "doctor who." she says why can't we have a monday? [laughter] because i'm getting an award. [laughter] you have to be patient.
so i don't want to say anything else about it because it might jinx it. and because anything i say gets reported as news. one conversation at the hugo awards. it is just wonderful. [cheers] [applause] one conversation with my mouth full. after the after party. there is journalists it says, is in the be in this series? and i said, well, i'm not sure. it could be the same as season five and season six. and she said what, big-budget? that gets reported as news. [laughter] so how would you like a short
story with unending? [cheers] [applause] this is a story that has not been published. until very recently. it was part of a cheery anthology. i was asked to write some scary stories for benefits charity anthology. and i love scary stories, particularly when we head into october. which is what ray bradbury called the october country in the and the trees are getting a little bit more skeletal. and it is getting a little chillier and wetter. in the windows start filling with the kind of stuff that i like. which only happens once a year. once a year you look and you say oh, my goodness, spiders and
other things. [cheers] [applause] [laughter] how cool is this? then i think, it is probably good that the 11 months of the year you have boring stuffs. because then it would not be special. and i decided in this story to create a whole new monster. one with a very scary ending. and it is called click clack the rattle back. >> before you take me up to bed or in will you tell me a story. you actually need me to take you up to bed? i asked. he thought for a moment. then with intense seriousness, yes, actually, i think you do. it is because i finished my
homework, and so it is my bedtime, and i am a bit scared. .. because then when i got to bed i was thinking about monsters the whole time. if it isn't just a little bit scary, then i won't be interested. and you make up scary stories, don't you? i know she says that's what you do. she exaggerates.
i write stories, yes. nothing that has been published yet though and i write lots of different poems of stories. you do write scary stories? yes. the boy looked up at me from the shadows by the door where he was waiting. do you know any stories about clickety-clack the rattle back? i don't think so. those are the best sorts of stories. do they tell them in your school? he shrugged. sometimes. what is a click clock the rattle bag story? >> he was a precocious child and was unimpressed by his stories boyfriends ignorance. you could see it on his face. everybody knows that. i don't he said. trying not to smile.
he looked at me as if he was trying to decide whether or not i was pulling his leg. he said, i think maybe you should take me up to my bedroom and then you can tell me a story before i go to sleep, but a very knocked scary story because i will be up in my bedroom then and it's actually a bit dark up there too. i said, shall i leave a note for your sister telling her where we are? you can, but you will hear when they get back. the front door is very slamming. we walked out of the warm and cozy kitchen into the hallway of the big house where it was chilly and drafty and dark. i flicked the light switch but nothing happened. the boldest on the boy said. our eyes adjusted to the shadows. the moon was almost full of blue white moonlight showing into the
high windows of the staircase down into the hall. i will be all right i said. yes, said the boy. i am very glad you are here. you seem less precocious now. he held onto my fingers, trustingly as if he had known me all his life and i fell responsible and adult. i didn't know the feeling i had for his sister who is microfriend was love but i liked the child treated me as one of the family. i felt like his big brother. and i stood taller and as if there was something unsettling about the empty house i would not have mentioned it for the world. the stairs creaked under the threadbare stair carpet. click glocks said the boy are the best monsters ever.
are they from television? i don't think so. i don't think any people know where they come from. mostly they come from the dark. a good place for a monster to come. yes. we walked along the upper corridor in the shadows, walking from a patch of moonlight to patch of moonlight. it really was a big house. i wish i had a flashlight. they come from the dark said the boy holding onto my hand. i think probably they are made of dark. and they come in when you don't pay attention. that is when they come in and then they take you back to not mess, what is the word that is likeness but not? house? no, it's not house. layer? he was silent.
i think that is the word, yes. a layer. he squeezed my hand as i was talking. pick the people who don't pay it attention back to their lair and what did they do then? do they all the blood out of you like vampires? he snorted. vampires don't all the blood out of you. they only drink a little bit. just to keep them going and you know flying around. [laughter] click clack's are much scarier than vampires. i am not scared of vampires. meade there. i am not scared of vampires neither. do you want to know what subtony's do? they drink you like a coke. [laughter]
coke is very bad for you. [laughter] said the boy. if you put a tooth in coke -- [laughter] in the morning, it will be dissolved into nothing. [laughter] that is how bad coke is for you and why you must always clean your teeth every night. i had heard the coke story of the boy and had been told as an insult that it was not true but it was certain that the lie which promoted dental hygiene was a good life. [laughter] and i let it pass. click clacks drink you said the boy. first they bite you and then you go -- and all your brains and everything turns into a wet milkshake and then the click clacks it out through the holes where your eyes used to be.
that is disgusting i told him. [laughter] did you make it up? we had reached the last flight of stairs all the way into the big house. i can't believe you kids make up stuff like that. you didn't ask me about the rattle bag he said. what is the rattle bag? well, he said soberly, a small voice from the darkness beside me, they hang you up on a hook and you rattle in the wind. so what do these click clacks look like and as i asked him i wished i could take the question back. i saw a huge spidery creatures like the one in the shower this morning. i am afraid of spiders. i was relieved when the boy
said, they look like what you might expect when you want paying attention to it. the reclining wooden steps now. i held onto the railing and held him to my rate as he walked beside me. it smelt like dust. the boy's tread was certain. even in the moonlight was scarce. do you know what story you are going to tell me to put me to bed he asked? it doesn't actually have to be scary. not really. maybe you could tell me about this evening, tell me what you did. that won't be much of a story for you. microfriend just moved into a new place on the edge of town. she inherited from an aunt or someone. it's big and very old. i'm going to spend my first night with her tonight and after waiting an hour or so for her and her housemates to come back with the wind.
see? said the boy. there was that. shows amusement again but all kids can be insufferable sometimes when they think they know something you don't. it's probably good for them. you know all that, but you don't think. if you just let your brain fill in the caps. he pushed open the door to the attic room. it's perfectly dark now. the opening door disturbed the air and i heard things rattle gently like drying bones and the slight wind, click clack, click clack. like that. i would have pulled away then if i could but small firm fingers pulled me forward unrelentingly into the dark.
[applause] [applause] >> thank you. >> a little business matter. i'm going to turn things over and we are going to present the award. don anders the president of the mid-atlantic chapter of the mystery writers of america. [applause] >> thank you. >> mwaa as some of you may know in most of you being fans may not. is the prayer mayor organization for mystery writers, professional and allied fields and while mr. gaiman is not
primarily a mystery writer he has been known to commit an occasional crime story from time to time. we are delighted to help sponsor his appearance tonight and to present him with a mason award which is given for your extraordinary contributions toward bringing literature to a wide reading public. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> thank you.
[applause] it's such an honor to be given an award like this. is also such an honor when i look at the other people who have been given the award, because they are all people i consider my friends and they are people who i look at and go, you are doing the same thing that i'm doing. it's always such a delight to run into steven king, people who love words, love stories, believe. and -- who was done in anthology and volunteer to edit and give a story to an anthology to benefit
826, the dc1. [applause] these are people who care passionately about literature, about words, about freedom of speech and about bringing good stories to everybody. and i think if there's anything that i have ever wanted to do, i have to some degree succeeded and obviously to some degree fallen short of, it is the desire to be able to ride every kind of story that ever was and to write it for everybody. and who really do want it all and then i want to give it to you all, so thank you very much for this. [applause]
[applause] >> goodnight. thank you so much for coming. [applause] [applause] "o.o.p.s." is the name of the book, steven frantzich steven frantzich who is oppressor of the u.s. naval academy is the author. what does it stand for? by observing our politicians stumble. i had the book idea but i woke
up the middle of the night and said i have to have some sort of a grab on the title and so i tried all also two different words and observing our politicians stumble. >> why did you write a book about stumbling? >> i looked over recent political campaigns and said what do we remember and rummy can't remember those places where candidates made a mistake and i wanted to look at the question of how many estates were fatal and how did some candidates overcome their mistakes in what were the ones we don't remember and i wanted to look at the whole question about that dominant campaigns coverage as opposed to issues or performance of candidates and the other things we think they are doing in a campaign. >> let's start with campaign coverage. let's start with immediate. mitt romney, 47% and barack obama cling to guns and religion. what was the media coverage like on that? >> this morning i ran the 47% and i asked questions.
one is how much depth they get and how many media outlets covered the story and then what was the shelflife? does at last a day, week or month? the guns was relatively short. we talked about it a lot and rummy of course the 47% we still haven't heard the end of that obviously that in about a month, the stories drop off but they get dragged back and either by opponents or they get dragged in by a fence. i'm sure that as we come out of the presidential debate someone will say well i wonder if you are going to respond to that and i wonder if obama is going to ask a question about that. the issue is in my mind which of these gaffes are ones that we have to pay attention to. do they represent a true character flaw? do they represent an incapacity to ask in a way we would like to have them ask or are they just normal things? we all make mistakes. the candidates have been hanging out there in the public and now with the internet and youtube
and things like that they are not only distributed more broadly more quickly but there also is an archival capability so we go back and find out what barack obama said in 1998 or what that romney said in may which by the way there was not one bit of coverage of 47% in may. there was a public event and a fund-raising event but nobody told that story to the media back in may. it wasn't until the video popped up that it comes back into the process in late august or september. >> so, what mistakes have politicians made in the past that you've documented for "o.o.p.s." and our fatal? >> let me work from the current backwards a little bit. when richard perry stands up to be their puppet nominee and says i'm going to cut government and cut it in these ways and he can't remember which department he is going to cover you would say he's not ready for
prime-time. won the kind of affected us here was elizabeth dole. elizabeth dole came here to speak and was not well briefed by your staff and didn't realize it was a lot of civilian students who were there but the senate talked over the heads of the people they were going to ask the questions from on the floor and then she misinterpreted a question. the question -- though she did very good by the way when she spoke at the republican convention. she had the media in her hand and she is a stiff kind of a speak and someone asked her a question about whether she would defend her son -- send her son to bosnian she was going to bosnia but she took it as a personal question and you could almost see in her face the fact, the regret that she and bob dole had never had a child and she
said well we have never had children i can't answer. the next day the media said she is not really ready for the campaign trail because she is not talking like a candidate. she is talking in a personal way and all of a sudden within three weeks for campaigned as kind of folded. i think michael to caucus' problem in terms of a presidential debate when he was asked what he would do if his wife was raped and he gave a very -- a defense of his opposition to capital punishment and all of a sudden we said does this guy have a human side at all? i think those things, we kind of see into the character of the individual. i think al gore over the years, because it is kind of, he was pointed out as a serial exaggerator and any one of those stories you could explain away -- though he never said he invented the internet. he said he helped create the end of that.
invent we have a conception of a laboratory sitting at a computer and he was very important in terms of creating the internet through legislation but he had that story and then he had a story about he and his wife were the models for the book love story. theauther said no that's not really quite true so he kind of link all of these together and said okay he is kind of them serial exaggerator and that hurt him in in the long-run. >> is why did the gaffes for mistakes about president bill clinton, president george w. bush, why are those not fatal mistakes? >> i think they're at two things going on. one is what else is going on in the world of the time? john mccain made a comment about he was asked a question about what would he do in iran and someone said an air mail message and he went on saying singing bob bob ran. very few people remember that a
lot of things were happening in the world at the time. nobody carried it on. i compare that to hillary clinton's statement about being under fire in bosnia. it was time after time after time until the media started to say well is this really chew and all of a sudden they pulled up a picture of her being greeted at the airport being greeted by a girl with a bunch of flowers and there is a general in the ground saying there was no fire and the obama people start to say you might want to look at her credibility on these things and it was so dramatic that we don't like people to lie to us. this is about as close as a presidential candidate obama looking at fellow democrats saying she lied to us. who else is pushing it is important. and i think it's explainable. you have a candidate who is in sioux falls south dakota and they have been on the campaign
trail all day and they have made 12 different stops to be here in oklahoma city. we kind of pass that often say well, it doesn't make a great deal of difference where they are or they think they are at that point in time. >> gary hart. >> okay, gary hart created the original sin of challenging people in the media. there are the stories and most people in the media knew that he ran around a bit but rather than letting it go at that, you have to remember we are at a time when the media didn't look at that so carefully. there was a backstage area. one of the problems we have today is politicians don't have a backstage area. whatever they do wherever it is validated to be covered but that was in the case and that point of time. he said you go out and prove the this sort of stuff so a reporter from the florida newspaper hid in the bushes in southwest washington and saw his
girlfriend coming in late at night and leaving early the next morning and it wasn't too hard for him to guess that she was not probably cooking in on night dinner. so you don't challenge the media and he don't tried to become who you are. >> political science professor steven frantzich. his most recent book is "o.o.p.s." and observing our politics -- dr. frantzich how how many books have you written? >> this is 17 aboriginal books. it starts out the second edition with statistics. i start out all academic, doing doing a atomic kind of books. i have done five or six books that have been the more fun kind of book. the one just prior to the second one called honored guests wear a profile that the president has
mentioned in their state of the union message. today where you did that a president using someone as an example. that was not done until ronald reagan did it for the first time and every president since then his use people as an example of their political goals. close to home i did a biography of brian lamb. i have done a lot of work with educators and c-span and people kept saying what is the real brian lamb light? he did not want a biography done and i pumped him and pumped them and i finally got a contracted the one and i find it came in and i said well, what do you think lexi said well, i guess i will do it and i can't say no. the nation is committed to open access information and how can i close things out? it's a wonderful story. a kind of open doors for me so that was kind of fun to do.
prior to that i did have look that looked at individuals who change national policy called citizen democracy and it's a bunch of profiles of individuals unelected, unappointed individuals who went out and created things like major legislation because of their actions. >> what do you teacher at the naval academy? >> i teach political silent. i'm proud of the fact that for the last 30 years we have been the number one and people don't assume that a technical school. they get their technical education plus science education. i teach media politics and campaigns and elections and i have my finger and the american government part. we have acquired a government course where the congress and his wisdom said what is going on at the naval academy when ollie north doesn't understand control of the military and so in the
budget hearings they required us to create a required course. now we teach 100% and i like keeping that has as traditional government course but we also teach the ethics of governmental service. when you're in the military there are extra responsibilities on you that a normal individual doesn't have. >> one more project you are involved in. you are in a book giveaway. what is this project? >> it started out as a one a one time one shot activity at the rotary club that i'm a part. we are going to send a load of books at that point in time to africa. we found out our economy was paying $95 a truckload to pour them into landfill. we had too many for one shipment and let's do another to another and let's do another and it took on a life of its own. we just pass -- and the people
want to grasp that i say look at a football field. side to side, and zones inside zones that is about 300 tractor-trailers and we shipped out 15 of those tractor-trailers a year and then basically a library in a box, 25,000 looks at a time and send to iraq and afghanistan and peace corps volunteers. some of the rea blue book said we have and we get books from schools and libraries and we believe we have the largest volunteer base project in the world which means we can ship very inexpensively. we ship for about $4000 per container. somebody some of the other groups and their wonderful organizations that are doing this for. they started $16,000 because they are using aid to individuals. individuals. we are a bulk shipper. would bring them in, sort them out and put them in the a container and send them off.
>> and you send them to american troops into other countries? >> we have something to 40 countries and most of them are african countries who are english-speaking but we send them to places you would expect. kazakhstani and those in the south american countries, the philippines and places like that which are the british american colonies and then to a lot of artists. everyone wants to learn english so we send a lot of stuff to basic english -- we just sent some basic reading books to cambodia because the u.s. military is teaching cambodians how to speak english and they are going to be reading the updated versions of things. so we are finding it all over the world that people want to learn english. >> if people want to donate to your project what is your web site? >> www.e. kai: